Baltimore is well known for its history, blue crabs, and sports teams, but not necessarily as a ski resort destination. For those who would like to try snowboarding and skiing, there are seven within 150 miles of Maryland’s largest city.
Most of them have around 100 skiable acres, and all provide lessons for beginners. Since they’re located within a few hours of Baltimore, many are best suited for an overnight or full-day trip.
Several of the resorts are open year-round and have plenty of activities throughout the year to keep guests entertained. The state’s only ski area, Wisp Resort, is three hours away (182 miles), so heading to Pennsylvania or Virginia is a faster way to experience skiing and snowboarding away from the city.
Liberty Mountain – Fairfield, PA: 63 miles | 1.5 hours
Baltimore’s closest ski area, Liberty Mountain Resort, is 90 minutes away and provides a perfect introduction to skiing for anyone new to downhill. Beginner skiers and snowboarders can take advantage of package deals for lessons, equipment, and lift tickets. The ski area has a 600-foot drop and 100 skiable acres, containing 16 trails and three terrain parks.
The resort is open daily for skiing, with the snow tubing park open Thursday through Sunday. Dining is offered on site, with a hotel located a short distance from the slopes.
Inside Ski – Leesburg, VA: 74 miles | 1.5 hours
The second-closest place to ski near Baltimore isn’t exactly a resort, yet it’s the place to go for learning to ski in the off-season. The Inside Ski Training Center utilizes an angled revolving surface, like a treadmill, to simulate alpine skiing.
The training center provides all the equipment a skier needs, though guests are invited to bring their own helmet. Lessons are for beginners through advanced skiers and can be taken individually or with a group.
Roundtop – Lewisberry, PA: 76 miles | 1.5 hours
Roundtop targets all levels of skiers with ten lifts leading to 16 trails. The resort has an area for beginners separate from other runs, and expert and intermediate trails cover much of the mountain with progressive terrain parks mixed among the slopes.
The mountain has a 600-foot vertical drop and 103 acres of skiable terrain. Half-day and full-day lessons for groups or individuals are offered for adults and children beginning at age three. Although there is no lodging at Roundtop, there is a restaurant and café at its base.
Whitetail – Mercersburg, PA: 92 miles | 1.5 hours
The 935-foot vertical drop of Whitetail Resort is one of the largest in Pennsylvania, just one of the many reasons to visit. The mountain has 1,800 feet of elevation and 23 trails accessed by nine lifts, plus two terrain parks. The ski resort is a member of EPIC Pass, so annual pass holders can enjoy the many perks of skiing at multiple resorts.
The mountain at Whitetail Resort is grouped in sections, with beginner slopes to the left of the base lodge, intermediate slopes to the right, and expert trails accessed via the Expert’s Choice Quad lift. Arrive early if you’re renting equipment to ensure availability.
Some accommodations are available on site, but there are plenty of places to stay within a short drive. At the base of the 109-acre resort, skiers can find a restaurant, pizzeria, and food court.
Spring Mt. – Schwenksville, PA: 127 miles | 2.5 hours
Spring Mountain Adventures may not be the largest mountain in Pennsylvania, but it’s an ideal spot for learning to ski or snowboard. With a 428-foot vertical drop, it boasts an abundance of different types of lessons for every age and level of skier.
The ski area has only seven trails and 45 skiable acres, but its slopes are wide enough for easy learning and are grouped together by skill level, so skiers and snowboarders can practice where they’re most comfortable.
Lift tickets are inexpensive and fourth graders are eligible for a $25 season pass, plus a free learn-to-ski session. At the base of Spring Mountain guests can enjoy lessons at the outdoor ice skating rink and discounted skating tickets for those who purchase a lift ticket.
Bear Creek – Macungie, PA: 130 miles | 2.5 hours
Before becoming a family-friendly ski resort, Bear Creek Ski and Recreation Area was home to the Rittenhouse Gap mines, abandoned after World War I. The ski area opened in 1967 and expanded to now include 23 trails and three progressive terrain parks on 86 acres. The trails are balanced in difficulty with 30 percent for beginners, 40 percent for intermediate skiers, and 30 percent for experts.
Skiers can learn basic skills, as well as ski racing, at Bear Creek. Reserve lessons and rentals in advance to ensure availability. Visitors can also reserve reloadable RFID lift tickets in advance, as a limited number are available each day.
Bryce Resort – Basye, VA: 146 miles | 3 hours
Situated at the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, Bryce Resort is a family-friendly recreational ski area that’s more suited for a relaxing stay than an active ski weekend. The trails are primarily blue, with a handful of green runs and a short black diamond. Kids five and under ski free with a ticketed adult.
The ski resort has one terrain park and eight trails on 25 skiable acres. It has three restaurants and two bars on-site for refueling during the day or relaxing at the end of the evening. Rental homes and condominiums are available to stay on or near the mountain through independent management companies.
Baltimore may be known more for its harbor than its mountain access, yet there are plenty of downhill choices just a few hours from downtown. Beginners have many opportunities to learn to ski, and advanced skiers and snowboarders can find a place to practice or learn new skills even in the off-season.